Annabelle Sheehan departs SAFC to head up NZFC

Annabelle Sheehan.

Annabelle Sheehan. 

Annabelle Sheehan will be the next chief executive of the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), replacing Dave Gibson.

Sheehan has been the CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) since 2015, and during her time in the role has supported over 30 productions to shoot in the state, including the ABC and Netflix’s upcoming Pine Gap, as well as Hotel Mumbai, Cargo, Sweet Country, Storm Boy, Fucking Adelaide, The Call Back and both seasons of Stan’s Wolf Creek. She has also introduced programs such as the Aboriginal Screen Strategy and Gender Agenda.

Prior to her role with SAFC, Sheehan was director, production investment at Screenwest, was the CEO RGM Artist Group, and headed film and television at AFTRS. She also has a post-production background as an ADR supervisor and sound editor, having worked on Mad Max – Beyond the Thunderdome, Lorenzo’s Oil, Dead Calm and The Piano.

NZFC chair Kerry Prendergast said the board was pleased to have attracted someone with Sheehan’s background, particularly noting her passion for film education, talent development and Indigenous storytelling.

“I know she is looking forward to learning more about New Zealand’s film industry and meeting Kiwi filmmakers, and the Board and I are looking forward to working with her,” she said.

Of her time at SAFC, Sheehan said: “It has been an honour to work for the great state of South Australia with its extraordinary screen heritage and ongoing innovative approach to screen story telling. I am grateful to the SAFC Board and staff for their incredible work which has led us to be able to implement significant programs, support SA filmmakers and attract major projects to the state.”

SAFC chair John Hill congratulated Sheehan on her new appointment and for her contribution to the state’s screen industry.

“The state has been very lucky to have had Annabelle at the helm of the SAFC where she has put in place a series of programs and initiatives that will continue to see our local industry grow and ensure international recognition of South Australian stories and of South Australia as a major production base,” said John Hill, Chair of the SAFC.

Premier of South Australia and Minister for the Arts Jay Weatherill said: “Annabelle is highly regarded internationally, and through her connections and reputation played a pivotal role in securing the re-make of Storm Boy and the Netflix Original series Pine Gap. I wish her all the best in the next stage of her career – New Zealand has secured a talented CE for their Film Commission.”

Sheehan will begin with the NZFC in mid-January following a handover period in December.

SAFC will start recruiting for a new CEO in the coming weeks.